school vouchers

Tillisberger: Ignore the law, let's barge ahead with vouchers

Judge Robert Hobgood was abundantly clear in his ruling on school vouchers: they're unconstitutional and the state is not allowed to disburse any voucher money.

Of course, Tillisberger didn't like that. And Tillisberger is used to getting their way. They're despotic and don't care much for the rule of law -- they just want to get their way.

So before the court's written ruling has even been issued, Tillisberger yanked the vouchers case away from North Carolina's attorney general, ignored the Court of Appeals and went directly to the NC Supreme Court demanding to disburse the illegal voucher money.

A three-judge appeals court panel rejected [the emergency] request [to disburse voucher funds] on Monday, saying it was premature to offer such a ruling without a written order from Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood.

Pubilic schools drive county economies in NC

The plans of the far right to destroy public education and utilize those tax dollars as a revenue stream for private businesses will do far more harm to North Carolina than just destroying our schools. It turns out that:

In 64 of North Carolina’s 100 counties .. a local school system is the largest single employer. A local school system is the second-largest employer in 24 other counties ….. In only 12 counties ... is a school system not in the top two…..

A few interesting notes: in counties where the school system is not the top employer, it’s usually due to the military (Craven, Cumberland, Onslow), a large university (Orange, Durham, Watauga, Pitt, Jackson), a prison (Granville, Hyde), or a large-scale hog/chicken processing plant (Duplin, Lenoir, Bladen). Note the absence of manufacturing.

Vouchers: Unintended consequences won't please the Skipper

Skip Stam, fresh from his anti-gay bigoted rant, must be stewing over the results of his baby: school vouchers.

Skip doesn't care that vouchers siphon money from public schools that already don't have enough resources.

Skip has no problem with the fact that tax dollars will go to religious schools, thus violating the principle of separation of church and state and the NC Constitution.

But the Skipper must have forgotten that there are religions other than his own. The first round of vouchers have just been awarded, and as expected, religious schools lead the pack.

Parents could identify a top school of choice when they applied for the program. The overwhelming majority of those who chose picked religious schools. Most of the 440 schools requested are Christian, but two of the top three are Muslim.

Tillisberger to exercise ownership rights

It goes like this:

  1. Tillisberger & NC GOP pass unconstitutional voucher program.
  2. They get sued.
  3. An NC Superior Court ruling freezes implementation of the voucher program until the various court cases proceed.
  4. Tillisberger goes to NC Supreme Court to get the freeze on vouchers lifted. They promised those taxpayer $ to their private school profiteer buddies and dammit, they intend to deliver!

After all, the NC GOP paid good money to assume ownership of the NC Supreme Court. It's about time for a little bit of profit-taking, right?

Koch brothers interfering in NC school voucher lawsuit

NC Policy Watch takes a look at the libertarian law firm funded by the Koch brothers that are representing some parents in court cases challenging NC's school voucher law.

The law firm was founded in 1991 by Clint Bolick and Chip Mellor. In the firm’s early days, Bolick was known for his work opposing affirmative action legislation, and acted as one of the top strategists endeavoring to hold up the passage of the 1991 Civil Rights bill.

And, according to the New York Times, he is one of the prime architects behind school voucher plans in Milwaukee and Cleveland, which have come under intense scrutiny for no better or worse academic outcomes for its students as compared with public schools and numerous incidents of fraud and abuse of the programs.

Vouchers for disturbing home schools

Mother Jones has an article up taking a critical look at NC's school voucher program.

North Carolina's vouchers, which will become available in 2014, allow public money to go to unregulated private schools that are not required to meet any educational or teacher preparation standards. In addition, thanks to the way the law was written, the money will be available to "home schools"—literally schools set up in someone's house. Homeschooling traditionally has been done by parents. But the state recently changed its home schooling law to allow people who aren't parents or legal guardians educate kids in a group setting. The only requirement for such schools is that the teacher have a high school diploma, that the school keep immunization and attendance records on its students, and that it give kids a national standardized test every year.

Public funds for traumatizing gay teens

Rolling Stone has a heartbreaking article that looks at private religious schools that tramautize gay teens.

Young LGBTQs, struggling with the sexuality or knowing full well that they're gay and sent to strict religious schools by extremist religious parents, face abuse and harrassment.

Many Christian schools in Georgia and across the nation have similar policies, sometimes explicitly written into a pledge that students or their parents must sign when they enroll. At certain schools, a student need not even engage in acts of sexual "impurity"; simply identifying as gay or acting in support of a gay friend can lead to dismissal.

And state tax dollars pay for it.

Private school scholarships: Money laundering for the masses

Welcome to the United States of Scam-erica. Or Griftopia, as Matt Taibbi calls it in his book on the Wall Street meltdown. "There are really two Americas," Taibbi writes. For the grifter class, government is "a tool for making  money," while "in everybody-else land, the government is something to be avoided."

Not anymore. Here is the lesson Americans gleaned from the financial meltdown on and bailout of Wall Street: If the feds won't prosecute 'em, join 'em. Corruption has trickled down.

Stam lies about pseudo-voucher program

He must have been a telemarketer in a previous life:

"It is a beginning and it will be funded by corporations that believe in educational access for everyone," Stam told several hundred people attending the rally. "It will not cost the state money; it saves the taxpayers money while at the same time providing tens of thousands of scholarships for children whose families earn, for a family of four, up to about $50,000 a year."

It most certainly will cost the state money. Right out of the revenue coffers and into the hands of private schools:

Berger misleads and misdirects

In response to the Governor's Veto:

“Gov. Perdue's veto makes it more difficult to balance the state's budget without cutting teachers' jobs and negatively impacting our classrooms,” Senate leader Phil Berger said in a statement. “And while her solution is to raise taxes that destroy private sector jobs, Senate Republicans refuse to reach further into North Carolinians' pockets.”

Extending taxes that have already been in place for the last two years isn't "raising" or "reaching further", it's revenue neutral. But what isn't revenue neutral is using public school funding to subsidize private schools via $2,500 vouchers to parents.

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